Cointensional questions, fragment answers, and structured meanings


  • Andrew Weir


I discuss ‘cointensional questions’, questions which appear to have the same sense as each other, e.g. how many fives ten contains and how many times ten contains five. Fragment answers are sensitive to the distinction in form between these questions: the first of these can be answered by two but not twice, and vice-versa for the second. I argue that this casts light on the identity condition in (clausal) ellipsis, and in particular, requires a semantics for questions and focus which is more structured than propositional/Hamblin alternatives. Building on a proposal in Krifka (2006), I propose that the backgrounds of short answers must be in a subset relation to the background of their antecedent questions. I show that this proposal makes additional welcome predictions, capturing so-called ‘inheritance of content’ effects in clausal ellipsis.


How to Cite

Weir, A. (2019). Cointensional questions, fragment answers, and structured meanings. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(2), 1289–1306. Retrieved from